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Chapter 26
29 October.--This is written in the train from Varna to Galatz. Last night we all
assembled a little before the time of sunset. Each of us had done his work as well as he
could, so far as thought, and endeavor, and opportunity go, we are prepared for the
whole of our journey, and for our work when we get to Galatz. When the usual time
came round Mrs. Harker prepared herself for her hypnotic effort, and after a longer and
more serious effort on the part of Van Helsing than has been usually necessary, she
sank into the trance. Usually she speaks on a hint, but this time the Professor had to
ask her questions, and to ask them pretty resolutely, before we could learn anything. At
last her answer came. "I can see nothing. We are still. There are no waves lapping, but
only a steady swirl of water softly running against the hawser. I can hear men's voices
calling, near and far, and the roll and creak of oars in the rowlocks. A gun is fired
somewhere, the echo of it seems far away. There is tramping of feet overhead, and
ropes and chains are dragged along. What is this? There is a gleam of light. I can feel
the air blowing upon me."
Here she stopped. She had risen, as if impulsively, from where she lay on the sofa, and
raised both her hands, palms upwards, as if lifting a weight. Van Helsing and I looked at
each other with understanding. Quincey raised his eyebrows slightly and looked at her
intently, whilst Harker's hand instinctively closed round the hilt of his Kukri. There was a
long pause. We all knew that the time when she could speak was passing, but we felt
that it was useless to say anything.
Suddenly she sat up, and as she opened her eyes said sweetly, "Would none of you
like a cup of tea? You must all be so tired!"
We could only make her happy, and so acqueisced. She bustled off to get tea. When
she had gone Van Helsing said, "You see, my friends. He is close to land. He has left
his earth chest. But he has yet to get on shore. In the night he may lie hidden
somewhere, but if he be not carried on shore, or if the ship do not touch it, he cannot
achieve the land. In such case he can, if it be in the night, change his form and jump or
fly on shore, then, unless he be carried he cannot escape. And if he be carried, then the
customs men may discover what the box contain. Thus, in fine, if he escape not on
shore tonight, or before dawn, there will be the whole day lost to him. We may then
arrive in time. For if he escape not at night we shall come on him in daytime, boxed up
and at our mercy. For he dare not be his true self, awake and visible, lest he be
There was no more to be said, so we waited in patience until the dawn, at which time
we might learn more from Mrs. Harker.
Early this morning we listened, with breathless anxiety, for her response in her trance.
The hypnotic stage was even longer in coming than before, and when it came the time
remaining until full sunrise was so short that we began to despair. Van Helsing seemed
to throw his whole soul into the effort. At last, in obedience to his will she made reply.